Posted tagged ‘Karazhan’

Karazhan: A Walkthough

June 18, 2008

This is the final posts in a series covering a full Karazhan clear – mostly from a Main Tank’s Point of View.

So, you want to head into Karazhan for the first time? This series is intended to make the learning curve a bit easier to deal with. These posts provide a walkthrough for both the bosses and the trash.

Karazhan, located in Deadwind Pass, is a 10-man raid which resets once a week. This means that you have 7 days to work on Karazhan, Tuesday-to-Tuesday (in North America) each week. Once you are part of a boss kill, or enter the zone with a group that has defeated a boss, you are locked to the zone for the week.

During the week, the trash associated with each boss resets on their own timers, but can always be forced to reset by a ‘soft-reset’. You can perform a ‘soft-reset’ by simply leaving the instance empty for 30 minutes. This respawns all mobs tied to an undefeated boss, despawns all trash associated with downed bosses, and randomizes Moroes’s four adds.

A full clear of the zone provides 22 Badges of Justice, and can be done in about 3 hours – provided you take in an T4/T5 geared group that is already familiar with the zone. While learning 3 hours may only be enough to see Attumen and Moroes.

Karazhan walkthrough listing:

Before You Start
Attumen & Midnight
Maiden of Virtue
The Opera Trash
Opera, Rolumo & Julianne
Opera, The Wizard of Oz
Opera, Big Bad Wolf
The Curator
The Library Trash
The Shade of Aran
Chess Event
Prince Malchezaar


Karazhan: Nightbane

June 17, 2008

This is another in a series of posts covering a full Karazhan clear – mostly from a Main Tank’s Point of View.

Nightbane is an optional boss in Karazhan. His difficultly is on-par with the Prince, and in some ways he is the toughest fight in Karazhan. He does require that someone in the raid has completed the quest line to get the Blackened Urn, which is used to summon him.

You fight Nightbane on The Master’s Terrace. To get there, go to the back door and then move towards to ramp up to Curator, but instead of going up the ramp go through the doorway under it. Outside you will find a large circular Terrace. Nightbane always lands in the same spot, so you will want your tank setup there. To find it, walk about 60% of the way around and start looking for a broken barrel. Near that barrel, close to the inside wall you will see a skull on the ground – that is where Nightbane lands.

This fight has two alternating phases

Ground Phase

Positioning: In the ground phase the tank should stand with his back to the outside wall and position Nightbane so that his tail is in the inside wall.  Melee DPS need to position themself on a rear leg, as -like most dragons- the front and rear are dangerous.  Cleave, Breath Attack and normal melee damage hit the tank hard, so be ready with a lot of healing.

Charred Earth: In this phase circular zones of “Charred Earth” will appear.  These do massive fire damage, so you have to move out of them ASAP.  Melee will need to switch sides to avoid these.  Ranged should be split into two groups – one to the right, one to the left – starting close to the inside wall at max range.  When a “Charred Earth” zone opens, they will be able to move to the outside wall and continue on.

Bellowing Roar: At least once each ground phase Nightbane casts a AoE fear, which is a 2.5 second cast.  Ranged should be at max range to avoid this.  Melee should hope to not take a cleave while running around.  The tank needs to try to avoid it.  Warriors should ‘stance dance’ to use Bezerker Rage.  PVP Trinkets break the also break the fear.  Fear Ward and Tremor Totem also work (though the Tremor totem is not ideal).  If the tank eats a fear, Nightbane should stick on him, but the tank will likely pull the dragon into a dangerous position – try to recover as quickly as possible.

Air Phase

At 75%, 50% and 25% Nightbane flies into the air.  After a few seconds an AOE “Rain of Bones” is targeted on a random player, and then several skeletons appear.  Deal with the AOE by all grouping up on the tank, and then moving to one side as a group.  Once out of the damage zone, your tanks should hold down the Skeletons as much as possible while they are DPS’d down.  From the air, Nightbane targets a player – usually a healer – as starts firing Smoking Blasts at them.  This is a high damage attack, and will require quite a lot of healing.

This phase requires high DPS to burn the skeletons down, and strong healing.  Having an extra tank to help hold the skeletons helps a lot here.

Air to Ground Transition

After 50 seconds in the air, Nightbane lands.  If the skeletons aren’t down yet, dps needs to finish them off ASAP.  The Tank needs to get Nightbane’s attention, and this is far harder if healers are still actively casting.  Misdirects help immensely here.  If you don’t have a hunter, the tank can use a ranged attack on Nightbane as he lands, and then pull him into position.  Getting this transition down smoothly is probably the trickiest element of the fight, as loosing anyone on the landing really hurts you for this already challenging fight.

For many groups Nightbane is the last fight in Karazhan that they master, and even if he isn’t the Final boss of the zone, he is always a challenge.  While learning this fight can easily take upwards of 10 minutes (13’21” for our first kill).  While gear and experience will speed things up a bit, the quickest I’ve seen Nightbane taken down was 7’35”.  This is always a long fight, longer than anything else in Karazhan or even Gruul’s Lair – although Magtheridon does take us a *bit* longer.

Karazhan: Prince Malchezaar

June 13, 2008

This is another in a series of posts covering a full Karazhan clear – mostly from a Main Tank’s Point of View.

I consider The Prince to be the final boss of Karazhan – he is certainly the farthest from the entrance, and he drops the highest level gear in the zone.  The hardest boss?  Probably not, but still the one more likely to wipe any given raid.  This is the most random fight in the zone – it can go very easily or be made quite difficult, based solely on the random element of infernal placement.

Thankfully, the clear to the Prince’s Tower is short. Starting in the Gamesman’s Hall, having just collected your Chess loot, the tank should climb the ramps and look inside the next room. You will see a double pull of Fleshbeasts, and a patrolling Greater Fleshbeast. I prefer to bring to deal with the double pull first – once clear, pull them and then jump down to the floor on the Hall. You’ll want to have an off-tank pick one of these up, and move it away to avoid spreading their cleave around too much.

Next pull the Greater Fleshbeast down to the group – these are capable of very quickly putting out a lot of damage on the tank, so healers will need to be ready for that.

Then, move everyone up the ramp, and deal with the two Fleshbeasts in the room to the right. The final pull, a Greater Fleshbeast, is up the spiral stairs – when climbing these stairs, make sure to go all the way to the top. There are mobs on other levels that can be pulled if you are careless.

The final trash mob down, you can all move onto the Prince’s tower. There is plenty of space to get into his room without pulling, which is good since the doors close when you start combat.

Throughout the fight there are a few key elements:

  • Enfeeble – This debuff will be placed on random raid members, reducing their total health pool to 1. Heals don’t help here (0/1 is dead, 1/1 is full health), so when you have did debuff you must avoid all damage. This will never be cast on the person at the top of the aggro list – so make sure the tank is at times the top of that list.
  • Shadownova – A 24-yard radius shadow bast, centered on the Prince that has a knockback in addition to ~3000 damage.  All ranged members should stay at near max range to avoid this. These always follow a few seconds after casting Enfeeble, so melee who are Enfeebled must run out of range immediately to avoid this blast.
  • Infernals – The Prince will also summon Infernals to land randomly on the top of the tower. Once these land they are stationary but, have a high damage AOE centered on them. Select a member of the ranged group to watch the sky for these – with some practice they will be able to predict where the infernal will land, and help to adjust the raid’s positioning.

This is a Three Phase fight, although the phases don’t vary widely

  • Phase One – From 100% down to 60% health. In this phase he beats on the tank with his fists, drops Infernals, casts Enfeable, and uses Shadownova. The tank should be up against a wall while tanking, with the ranged group starting at max distance in the middle of the room. I prefer to start tanking in the corner opposite the door (this allows the ranged group to follow me in, rather than have them get in position once I’m already tanking), but it really doesn’t matter. The ‘Infernal Watcher’ needs to tell the melee and ranged group where to move to avoid Infernal drops.
  • Phase Two – From 60% to 30% health. Same as phase one, but now he uses Axes – this means his damage goes up considerably. This phase is where you are most likely to loose your tank to a burst of damage, so healers need to be extremely aggressive.
  • Phase Three – From 30% to Death. No more Enfeables, increased rate of Infernals, and the Axes start flying around and hitting people. Healers will need to get heals on the ‘Axe targets’, in addition to the tank.  Thankfully the damage on the Tank drops off some here, and the flying Axes don’t hit too hard – all good since the quicker Infernal drops will almost certainly have you scrambling a bit.

Much of this fight revolves around the Infernals.  Of course your DPS can’t have silly ‘Enfeebled’ deaths, and you have to keep the tank up through the massive damage the Prince puts out – but if the Infernals don’t drop near you, this fight can go pretty smoothly. However, they will at times chase you around the tower – with every drop landing on either the ranged or melee groups. Sometimes you get trapped and can’t do anything, but often times quick thinking and repositioning can save the attempt. The ‘Infernal Caller’ learning to quickly and clearly announce the landing spot, and directing everyone where to move is critical here, and only comes with practice.

Many groups use ‘safe spots’, but recent patches have changed the Infernals to hit these spots as well. Using these you may get lucky, but if you get hit, you have few options to reposition. I prefer to start the ranged group in the middle of the room, so that they have maximum freedom to move once the Infernals start landing – just mark one ranged member to determine the group position and have everyone follow them.

Karazhan: Chess Event

June 11, 2008

This is another in a series of posts covering a full Karazhan clear – mostly from a Main Tank’s Point of View.

Presuming you have cleared to Netherspite– or at least to the final ramp up to this area – you are very close to the Chess event.  In fact, all of the trash between the Shade’s room and the Chess Event is tied to Netherspite.

Just before you get to Netherspite’s room, you come to ‘a fork’ in the path.  One ramp leads up to Netherspite, the other down towards Chess.  Follow that ramp down, and you come to a room with two Ethereal Spellfilchers.  You can actually just kill one and sneak through, but I tend to take both out and avoid any potential of an accidental pull.  Leaving that room, you came to one more Ethereal Spellfilcher – and then you are done with the trash clear.

Before you get to the Games Room, you will hit a Ethereal vendor – this is a great place to empty your bags of the trash you’ve picked up, and to repair.  He also has a few recipes that are tied to reputation.

Through the door you will find the chess board.  This really is pretty simple, but there are a few things that you need to know.

  • The pieces are roughly based on Chess.  You win by killing the other side’s King.
  • When controlling a piece you get a pet bar.  The first button allows you to move, the second allows you to control facing (which determines your auto attack direction), and the last one or two are special abilities tied to that piece.
  • You start the match by talking to the King, and taking control of him.  From then on, anyone can talk to a unused piece to take control of it.
  • The King, the Healers (Bishops – next to the king and Queen), and a few Pawns in the middle really do need to be controlled.  Past that, it doesn’t really matter.
  • The other side will cheat.  You can ignore pretty much everything but the fire – you must move out of the fire.
  • If someone hasn’t seen this before, suggest they take one of the pawns (not a middle one) – so that you minimize the damage if they don’t get a pet bar.   Some people have interface issues that prevent it from showing up.

That really is it.  This is a quick easy ‘fight’ that is not based at all on gear or group makeup – basically a reward for having made it this far into Karazhan.

If you loose, you simply appear near the door and can try again.  There is no penalty, so there really is no pressure.

Once you win, your loot appears in a chest near the door – so make sure to grab it.  Everyone must take turns opening the chest to grab their Badges of Justice.

Karazhan: Illhoof

June 9, 2008

This is another in a series of posts covering a full Karazhan clear – mostly from a Main Tank’s Point of View.

Now that you’ve taken out the Shade, you have easy access to Illhoof.   Anytime I have a Warlock, we take out Illhoof immediately after the Shade – however if your DPS is particularly low, you are short on AOE, or you are under a time crunch, this is a fight I would consider skipping.

If the trash outside his door (bookcase) has respawned, you’ll need to take it out, but it is a simple pull.  Now, click on the bookcase and head down the ramp. Just inside of his room is large group of Imps – just pull them around the corner and let loose the AOE.

With the Imps gone, you can get a good look at Illhoof’s room.  Illhoof and his Imp buddy Kil’rek standing on the far side of a glowing green circle. This fight requires you manage both Illhoof and Kil’rek, raid members being Sacrificed, and a constant flow of Imps.

  • Illhoof and Kil’rek. Illhoof doesn’t hit particularly hard, which is good considering how busy the healers will be. Kil’rek barely hits a tank for any damage at all. A single tank can hold both, or an off-tank can be used to hold Kil’rek. Kil’rek can be killed pretty quickly by focused fire, providing a nice damage buff against Illhoof but he will respawn soon afterwards and need to be picked back up. I prefer to tank him along with Illhoof, and to simply let the AoE take him down.
  • The Imps: Have your warlock spam Seed of Corruption (and any other AoE they enjoy) on (or around) Illhoof. The Imps will appear near him, and focus fire on the ‘lock – so a dedicated healer on the ‘lock is important. If the Imps ever start to accumulate too fast, call for other AoE’ers to help get caught up. No warlock? Don’t worry.. Illhoof *is* optional. It can probably be done with other classes providing the AoE full time, but I’ve never found it to be worth the trouble. No ‘lock, no Illhoof.
  • Sacrifice: Throughout this fight Illhoof will “sacrifice” members of your raid – they’ll teleport to the middle of the green circle, and be covered in Demon Chains. While in the chains they take damage, and heal Illhoof. As soon as someone is teleported, they are going to need heals spammed on them, and all DPS (excluding the Imp warlock) need to switch to the Demon Chains and burst them down. To help with this have everyone create a macro “/tar demon”, and use that to get the correct target – there will be a lot of imps around to make targeting hard. It also helps to tank Illhoof near the circle, so that your melee DPS can switch targets quickly. Pallies can bubble out, and Mages can Iceblock.

This fight is reasonable easy to understand, but it reliant on having a good raid makeup, and very hard on a group with low DPS. If you don’t have the AoE to take out the imps, you can’t win. If your DPS is too slow getting the chains down, then Illhoof gets healed up too much, and you will slowly loose members to each sacrifice. If you run with only two healers, this fight gets rough if he focuses the sacrifices on them.

With a starting group, you can expect to survive five to six minutes (I’ve seen it go as long as 6’59” for a kill.)  As you progress this fight can be done much more quickly – as little as 2 minutes 30 seconds for my current group, at that speed you see so few sacrifices that there is simply less chance of things going wrong.

Karazhan: The Shade of Aran

June 5, 2008

This is another in a series of posts covering a full Karazhan clear – mostly from a Main Tank’s Point of View.

Curator is down and you’ve finished the long clear through the Library. The Shade of Aran is next. Taking him down stops the trash respawns in the Library, and greatly shortens the recovery time after wipes in this part of the zone.

This is one of the most complex Karazhan fights and can be amazingly frustrating, but once you ‘get it’ is perhaps the most fun you’ll have in the zone.

It is a pivotal fight in the zone, and one that elicits strong (and varied) reactions from nearly all raiders. I don’t know of any other single raid boss that has inspired players to write songs – and the Shade is the subject of many. Before going any further, here are my two favorites:

The Shade Chant
Wreath of Fire

Entertaining? Of course. But also educational, as we’ll see shortly.

The shade stands alone is a circular room. He will generally stay positioned in the middle of the room, though he can move around some. He has no aggro-table, so he isn’t tanked. That’s not to say there is no tanking in this fight – just none on the Shade. Tanks should throw on their DPS (or healing) gear, and help out as much as possible.

Casters need to be careful getting to close to the Shade, as he will occasionally pulse a short range spell interrupt.

Throughout the fight the Shade randomly casts three spells. An Arcane Missle spell, a Fireball, and Frostbolt. All do a lot of damage, so healers will have to watch his targets. Assign interrupters to the Fireball and Frostbolt spells, and try to stop them just before casting – this stops the damage, allows him to waste time casting, and stops him from spending mans (more on this later). Allow him to cast his Arcane spell, only interrupting if his target is about to die (This is a channeled spell, where he has already spent his mana upfront.)

The shade also has an additional three special abilities that he uses on a longer timer.

  • Blizzard – This spell takes up about 1/3 of the outer portion of the room, and slowly circles around. The effect is now pretty obvious, but any ranged players need to make sure to get out of it. Often the best option is to run through the Shade to get ahead of the Blizzard, and then stand and get a few casts off before you need to move again.
  • Arcane Explosion – A Magnetic Pull yanks everyone to the middle of the room. The Shade then starts a non-interruptible long cast-time Arcane Explosion. This hits for several thousand damage so everyone needs to get out of it. To avoid it, you have to get to an outside wall. You will probably have a slowing effect up as well, but so long as you immediately start moving, you have time. The key is to not wait around. Sprint, Dash, Blink and Intervene all help here.
  • Flame Wreath – When the Shade starts casting this, everyone must find a place they like and park themselves there. No moving. Most of the raid will have a ring a fire (a flame wreath, if you will) appear around them. If you are inside a wreath, you cannot move. When you do move – and someone will move – the entire raid gets smashed for several thousand damage. Thankfully, the guilty party also shoots into the air (let the mocking begin). If you are in a wreath you cannot move, jump, sit, turn, accept a rez, or use any ability that auto-turns you – otherwise, keep putting out the dps or heals. Just, for the love of all this is good an holy, please don’t move. And when you do move, don’t say “I didn’t move!”. The mockery is coming, and well is deserved – just resolve to not be the guy that blows up the raid twice in a row.

Hunters and Warlocks need to watch their pets during the Blizzard and Arcane Explosion, but pets are thankfully immune to the Flame Wreath effect. Note: this does take away the “My pet blew up the raid” excuse.

Additionally, at 40% health the Shade summons four Water Elementals. Once you learn to deal with all of the above, this is the make or break point. The Elementals put out some serious damage, so everyone needs to get on them. Frost Resist Aura or Totem? Yup, use ’em here. These mobs can be feared, banished, and tanked. A pair of warlocks makes this trivial, but baring that, this is a struggle. Coordinated chain fearing (priest and warriors have fear too!), focused fire, and a lot of healing will see you through this – but many groups struggle with getting the Elementals down. Add in that the Shade keeps using all of his tricks while they are up, and this can be downright brutal. If you get stuck here, just keep working on it – it is hard for most groups.

The final thing to worry about is the Shade’s mana pool. The reason we interrupt the fire and frost spells, is to preserve his mana. Should his mana approach empty, he will polymorph the raid (free heals!), sit for a drink (catch your breath!), and then (uh-oh) pyroblast the entire raid for 6-7k or so damage. Everyone needs to have enough health to survive this, and needs to have health stones/pots ready for use. If this happens while the elementals are up, then you are almost certainly facing a wipe – so if his mana is getting low, you may want to stop dps, let the polymorph happen, and then push him to 40%. With enough DPS you can remove this threat altogether – but most groups learning this fight end up seeing this.

So that’s it. Interrupts to preserve his mana. Avoid the Blizzard. Run to the walls when he pulls everyone in. Don’t move in flame wreath. Kill/CC the Elementals. Survive (or out-dps) the Pyroblast. Easy enough, right?

Early on this fight can take 5-6 minutes (I’ve seen it go as long as 8’34”) – with more gear I’ve seen this done is as short as 2’43”.

Once you get him down, you will be able to Teleport straight up to his room from the Doorman back at the entrance – an huge bonus while learning the later fights.

Karazhan: The Library Trash

June 4, 2008

This is another in a series of posts covering a full Karazhan clear – mostly from a Main Tank’s Point of View.

The Curator is down, and you are ready to tackle the 2nd half of Karazhan. You now face the single longest trash clear in the zone – but know that it is on a long respawn timer, and that once you get it down every remaining boss in the zone is reasonably close.

The majority of the trash covered here is tied to the Shade – although there is one pull that is linked to Illhoof. I always choose to bypass Illhoof, and get the Shade down first, preventing respawns, and to open up the Shade Teleport making run-backs far less painful.

Leaving the Curator’s room, you face a ramp down and a pair of Arcane Watchmen. These are skipable, just hug the corner and you won’t aggro. There is an Arcane Protector that roams just short of this corner, so I always head down first, peak around the corner, and call the raid down once he starts moving away. Once everyone is around the corner, and away from the pair of Arcane Watchmen, setup up the ramp and wait for the Protector to come back.

The Arcane Protectors do have a some slight off-target damage, but mostly a simply tank-n-spank fight. There are two others that patrol close enough to be pulled up to the ramp – just watch that you don’t pull anything else with them.

Next, move down to the floor (or just at the base of the ramp) and pull the pack of Mana Feeders on the right. These are immune to pretty much all magic, and have near random targeting, so simply group everyone up (so they don’t get out of melee range) and beat on them. They don’t do much damage, and are more an annoyance than anything.

Next, pull the Mana Feeders on the left. These come with a Arcane Sentience, which you will kill first. He can put up a nasty debuff, so be sure to have that removed quickly, kill him, and then group back up for the Mana Feeders.

There is another Feeder pull ahead on the left, but you will need to grab two more patrolling Protectors first.

Now you can move up to the curved ramp up. There is another Protector who pats up this ramp, so you’ll need to pull him. There is also a group of Mana Feeders on the corner opposite the ramp. I always do this pull too, since someone strays too close trying to get up onto the ramp.

Up the ramp, you have one final Protector.

Now, you have what I affectionately call “The Blob Room.” If you have a ‘lock, get Detect Invisible up. It’s not required, but it helps.

Just inside the large circular room, you will see a Magical Horror, with two Mana Warps. The Warps can be banished, trapped, off-tanked, or simply help by the main tank. The Horror is the first kill target, as he has an AoE and a nasty debuff. The Mana Warps, just as they die, grow and then explode doing several thousand damage. To avoid this, they need to be feared or stunned when they die. Any fear/stun works, so simply assign someone to take care of each Warp, and then try to time the fear/stun to hit at the right time. They don’t have much heath, so I usually tell people to land it around 20% remaining.

Moving into the room, there is a Spell Shade lurking to the right. These are invisible about half the time, and are annoying casters. Pull, LOS back out of the room, and kill.

The Magical Horror + Mana Warp x3 pull in the middle of the room can be skipped, but I find it easier to just take them. They are always an “accidental pull” risk, and I find it easier to just deal with them.

There is one more Horror+Warpx2 pull on the right side of the room the needs dealing with, along with another Spell Shade, before you take your group in along the right side. Just before the ramp up out of the room, watch for another Spell Shade. He sometimes PATs close to the ramp, and if he does so, just kill him. He can be LOSed using the doorway to the exit ramp.

Starting with this ramp, implement at “No one in front of the tank rule”. I have named every ramp from here on out after a guildie who blindly ran ahead and pulled a group – usually resulting in at least a few deaths.

At the top of the ramp is a pull of four Spell Shades. These can be trapped or shackled. They also put out some serious damage, so tanking them all is not preferable. I mark one to be off-tanked, one for shackle, and pick up two myself. If we have an extra shackle, I’ll use that too. If no shackles, I’ll resort to a Hunter trap. Once I pull, Priests can step up the get shackles off, and then the tanks make sure to pull back onto to ramp so that healers have LOS. These are not easy pulls, so expect them to be chaotic till you get the hang of it.

From this room, you have a ramp down to Illhoof’s trash. The room has a pairs of casters on the left, and a caster on the right, each with Imps paired with them. I assign my offtank to the right side of the room, I take the left side, and have everyone move it together.

In this room, there is a bookshelf that can be opened to allow access to Illhoof.

Up the next ramp is the final pull, another 4x Spell Shade group. These are spread around the room, so some creative camera work is required to get them marked.

Once they are down, you are now at the Shade’s room. You also have easy access to Illhoof. I’ll cover both later, and both are technically optional, but the Shade is far more important than Illhoof, as his death opens up a teleport and removes a large amount of trash.

If you can’t get the Shade down, you can continue on to Chess without taking any more bosses (simply another dozen mostly-quick trash pulls).

The first few times through, the Library Trash can be painful, and the run-backs are brutal, but with some practice these pulls are are manageable. Once you get this down, the rest of the boss fights come at you pretty quickly.